I never really understood just how much Alberta contributes to the well-being of the Canadian economy.
Thanks to an article in the Financial Post and research from Tim Hearn and Robert Mansell of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, we now know it is roughly $661 billion net from 1961 to 2017.
According to Jack Mintz, Since 2010, "Albertans have paid $180 billion in net fiscal transfers, more than any other province." The total transfers equal out to Albertans paying almost as much in transfers to the rest of the country as the total of our entire federal debt today.
With so much already gained, it is not an understatement to point to the national importance of building proper infrastructure for Albertan natural resources.
While political leaders like Premier Legault in Quebec and Premier Horgan in B.C. appear blind to the economic reality for potential political gain, Canadian citizens should not follow in their footsteps on this file.
As Alberta Premier Rachel Notley pointed out, Quebec Premier François Legault should “get off his high horse” when it comes to dismissing “dirty” Albertan energy, especially when oil revenues help pay for Quebec’s social programs and infrastructure.
A significant portion of the financial wealth, not just in Quebec but nationwide can and should be attributed to the oil wealth of our Western provinces.
According to the Fraser Institute, pipeline shortages cost the sector $15.8 billion just in the last year. In the last seven years, Canada has lost out on $117 billion due to the price differentials partly caused by lacking pipeline infrastructure.
With Alberta already contributing hundreds of billions in transfers, imagine how much more could have been spread nationwide if resource development once again became workable in Canada.
At this moment, it seems the only people who can work through the slog of regulations and the armies of foreign-funded third-party groups which aim to landlock Canada's resource wealth(even if that increases overall emissions), are governments, and here I do mean the plural.
Worryingly, even with multiple governments across many provinces, pipeline development has been prolonged, border-lining on entirely stagnant. So stagnant, that politicians like Jagmeet Singh are now willing to abandon the $4.5 billion purchase altogether if consultations do not go well.
Bad news for Singh, six-in-ten Canadians believe that lacking pipeline infrastructure represents a national crisis, and would likely disagree with that approach. Especially when you factor in that it would represent hundreds of billions of dollars lost in the long term nationwide, that will largely be eaten up by American fracking producers, Saudi Arabian tyrants, or Russian despots.
Forgoing the political and moral implications of giving so much room to nations that currently oppose our interests, the actual quality of Canadian life will likely drop.
Quebec, for example, takes in enough from equalization to pay for its subsidized day-care five times over each year, if Alberta's GDP per capita drops massively in the long term Quebec would have far less.
On top of this, far more oil would have to be transferred by rail at deeper and deeper discounts. Rail transport produces far more carbon than pipelines.
That means Canadians will be paid less and less to continuously harm our environment more.
This genuine wealth combined with a concern for making environmentally sound decisions is perhaps why so many Canadians are increasingly angry with the lack of movement on infrastructure development.
If we cannot adequately extract resources in a country which has some of the harshest environmental restrictions on earth, alongside a carbon tax, what can we do?
Just import them from third-world countries without those restrictions?
That seems just a tad-bit short sighted to me.
What do you think? Join the conversation by commenting below!